The Maritime Advocate–Issue 788


1. Stranger than fiction
2. Shipbreaking casualties
3. Biofouling risks
4. Battery dangers
5. Domestic ferries
6. Human factors
7. Plastics research
8. NextGEN
9. Ship valuation
10. MCA information
11. Transporting dangerous goods
12. Wet cargoes
13. IACS news

Notices & Miscellany

Readers’ responses to our articles are very welcome and, where suitable, will be reproduced:
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1. Stranger than fiction

By Michael Grey

Will what we used to think of as “normal” ever return? Black swans used to be rare, but now they are coming by the squadrons, like migrating geese, as one daft occurrence succeeds the last in bewildering succession. There is a world shortage of lorry drivers, as they all opt to drive delivery vans rather than queue up in customs or sleep in their squalid cabs. The Chinese are experiencing power cuts, despite opening a couple of new coal-fired power stations every week. They have run out of coal.

There are nearly seven hundred bulkers blocking up the approaches to just about every Chinese port, while on the other side of the Pacific giant container ships are drifting around aimlessly waiting for a berth, with every safe anchorage already full. “Once on demurrage – always on demurrage” was a saying frequently repeated by happy shipbrokers, but with maritime trade slowing to a crawl and worries about what will be in the shops this Christmas, it is not something they should joke about in public. Is it Covid-struck stevedores, property companies on the verge of collapse, or just run of the mill cash-flow problems that are keeping Chinese anchorages full? Meanwhile, the Suez Canal had its busiest day ever, so not everyone has ground to a complete halt. At least most ships are still running, even if not all is right with the world. Cheers to seafarers on World Maritime Day!

When you are attempting to cast light on this chronicle of curiosities, it is difficult to know where to start. You might begin close to home, having been trapped for the best part of an hour by panicking British motorists trying to force their way into our local filling station, while crazed climate activists have glued themselves to the motorway, thus effectively stopping the fuel tankers getting through to where they need to be.

You might wonder about the degree of self-harm that has been done through national energy policies which have been hopelessly skewed by the increasingly fanatical lobbying of environmentalists, now practising the fastest growing religion in the world. You could look for the “interconnectors”, not the useful cables moving power between neighbouring countries, but the way in which great power politics has exposed the vulnerabilities of industrial countries, which have precipitously switched off dependable energy sources, leaving them at the mercy of either weather or dictators.

There are so many connections that you might wonder whether there is some evil guiding mind that needs a James Bond to sort it out. Nobody ever seemed to think about any of the consequences in the popular rush to go green. And who would have forecast that CO2, the demon that haunts us, would be in such short supply that fertiliser production ceases? Or what bright spark thought that two or three days of gas storage was adequate to see us though the winter? What, it might have been asked, would that be exposing us to, if there was a huge anticyclone over North Europe on a freezing winter’s day.

Mind you, there is such a thing as cutting off your nose to spite your face, with China banning Australian coal and, a few months later, finding nothing to burn in their blast furnaces or power stations. Perhaps, in their determination to teach those impertinent Australians a lesson, the Chinese never quite looked at the availability of alternative sources, mostly from very long distances. As Confucius probably never said, before you get on your high horse, you need to be able to ride.

And amid all this global turbulence, with a pandemic still raging around, you might think that there are more important matters than the “climate crisis” for our leaders to be focussed upon. It will be somewhat embarrassing if, just as the world leaders, stunned by ten days of green oratory and being shouted at by Greta, shuffle forward to sign the intergalactic climate convention, as Boris beams, all the lights go out.
If you are looking for a bit of perspective amid the Glaswegian hysteria, you might like to indulge with me in some first-class heresy and read Ian Plimer’s brilliant book “Heaven and Earth”, which, when published in 2009, endeavoured to put some real science (as opposed to dodgy data and useless modelling) into the issue of global warming. Plimer, who as a distinguished geologist thinks in aeons rather than decades, will have been cast into outer darkness by the scientific establishment – which demonises dissent -would go down in Glasgow like a distillery director at a temperance meeting. But it is a rational and scholarly book, that ought to be revisited at times like this, as we rush forward to make energy, domestic and transport policies fit with the new religion, in a world that is in a state not far short of chaos.

Michael Grey is former editor of Lloyd’s List.

2. Shipbreaking casualties

At least seven workers lost their lives while scrapping vessels on the beach of Chattogram in what is the worst quarter in terms of number of accidents in Bangladeshi shipbreaking history, NGO Shipbreaking Platform reported this week.

Read the press release on the shipbreaking platform here and download the report here.

3. Biofouling risks

A new white paper released by Swedish technology company I-Tech highlights the increasing problems for ship operators caused by biofouling occurring during growing idling periods, showing how ship idling has increased over the last 12 years. The white paper, based on research from I-Tech and Marine Benchmark, draws upon the former’s experience in developing the antifouling agent Selektope – a component of an increasing number of antifouling products, and takes a deep dive into why idle ships are at risk of biofouling, and the impact of barnacle fouling on vessel performance.
Based on in-depth analysis of the global fleet patterns, the paper reveals the substantial increase in the numbers of idling vessels over the past decade. I-Tech found that ‘Fouling Idling’, as defined in the study, has increased constantly since 2009, with a starting point of 25.4% to a peak of 35.0% in May 2020. Given the growth of the fleet, this means that the absolute number of vessels idling in the global fleet has doubled between 2009 and 2020.
Significantly, it also finds that vessels are increasingly idling in so-called biofouling ´hotspots´, with water temperatures above 25°C. Vessels spending the majority of their time sailing in these regions are at acute risk of excessive hard fouling accumulation.
This level of fouling was exacerbated by idling patterns seen in 2020, which provided ideal conditions for fouling to grow. For instance, at the peak of idling last year, almost half of all container vessels  had long idling periods of more than 30 days, exposing the vessels´ hulls to an extreme risk of hard fouling.
To make matters worse, these fouling windows could intensify as ports become more congested. Furthermore, with global ocean temperatures rising, biofouling hotspots could become more widespread, meaning that more ships could find themselves in one of the regions and facing a new, higher risk of barnacle fouling colonization. 
An earlier study by I-Tech and the Safinah Group shows over 40% of vessels surveyed in 2019 had a barnacle fouling coverage on the hull of over 10%. This level of biofouling, before taking into account idling in 2020, could be responsible for at least 110 million tonnes of excess carbon emissions annually.

As the study demonstrates, although shipping is beginning to play its part in combatting global warming, as evidenced by the IMO GHG Roadmap and regulations such as EEDI, EEXI, and CII, as well as efforts by individual owners to switch to low emission fuels, unpredictable events can still disrupt these decarbonisation efforts, as the study finds. The great financial crisis in 2008, and the oil price crash of 2015, caused similar levels of idling.
Commenting on the outcome of their findings, Philip Chaabane chief executive of  I-Tech, said: “External factors such as the economic collapse of 2008, the offshore crisis in 2015 and most recently the COVID pandemic and consequent port congestion will always have some disruptive effect on operations and make predictions difficult.
“Ship operators must, however, take action to minimise their impact. Most importantly, they must ensure that, after any idling, the vessel is in good condition to perform optimally. Familiarisation with the individual vessel’s risks of biofouling based on its operating footprint is a good starting point.”
Chaabane pointed out that when looking at the future trading potential, ship operators need to ensure that their ship is protected, whether it is in constant active service, idle for long periods of time, or at risk of fluctuating between the two.
He continued: “This future-proofing approach to antifouling coating selection, without any certainty of future trade, is exerting great pressure on the coating suppliers, fostering innovation and new approaches towards fouling prevention technology using the active substance Selektope. This is supported by increasing demand from ship owners and operators for antifouling coatings that contain the anti-barnacle active agent.”

To read the full study, click here.

4. Battery dangers

Vessel fires caused by lithium-ion batteries in electric cars are ferocious and extremely difficult to control – something that few shipping companies or their crew know about, according to a leading fuels expert.
Tony In’t Hout, director at Stream Marine Training (SMT), believes crew members on container ships carrying electric cars face serious injury or worse unless they understand what causes the batteries to ignite and how to quell the flames.
“In the maritime sector, the issue of electric vehicle batteries being highly flammable when they overheat is often overlooked,” he said. “People don’t realise how dangerous lithium-ion batteries are, so the shipping sector needs courses on how to fight fires – especially as we’ve seen quite a few blazes on ships in recent years caused by vehicle batteries.”
This year, maritime training provider SMT is launching a two-day course, headed by Dutch national Mr In’t Hout, which explores the fire risks to ships carrying lithium-ion batteries. One common cause is the entire battery-package overheating (thermal runway).
On day one of the course, trainees will learn about electric vehicle batteries and other potentially flammable ship industry fuels such as ammonia, hydrogen and methanol. They will also study the carbon footprint of these energy sources. Day two sees the attendees doing practical firefighting sessions at SMT’s training facility in Glasgow, Scotland.
“An aluminium car battery holds eight times the power of a normal one, so it can fuel itself if it catches fire,” said  In’t Hout. “Anyone working on ships needs to understand how to deal with that type of situation, which we cover on day two of the course.
“Another example is if you have a ferry with a hydrogen truck, an aluminium-battery car and an LNG truck next to each other when a fire breaks out – what should the crew do in that scenario? Most seafarers won’t know because they haven’t had the relevant training.” 
Fire outbreaks on vessels caused by electric vehicle batteries have become more commonplace. In May 2019, a fire broke out on the Grande Europa roro, some 25 miles from Palma de Mallorca in the Mediterranean. Just two months earlier, the Grande America roro sank in the Bay of Biscay after igniting. It’s believed that car batteries sparked the fires on both vessels, which were owned by Italian roro operator Grimaldi Group.
More recently, firefighters had to douse flames on Brim, a Norwegian passenger vessel, after its battery ignited on 12 March 2021. The cause was attributed to an overheated battery on the tour boat, which had taken children on an educational trip earlier that day. Fortunately, none of the crew still on the ship when it caught fire were injured.
“If you have a battery car that ignites, you can throw a blanket over it or, as we do in Holland, put it in an open-top container truck filled with water,” In’t Hout said. “The chemical in the battery keeps fuelling itself, so you need water to cool it down. That’s one of the many things we teach on our course.”

For more information about SMT and its maritime training courses, please visit the company’s website

5. Domestic ferries

Domestic ferry operations play a crucial role in the movement of people and goods in many regions around the world.  But about 95% of ferry casualties world-wide occur during domestic operations.  

In a new short animated video, International Maritime Organization (IMO) provides key messages on the importance of safety standards on domestic passenger ferries and the development of model regulations. 

The video was launched during IMO’s Maritime Safety Committee (MSC 104) which is in the process of finalising Model Regulations on Domestic Ferry Safety. These provide framework provisions which can be adapted by interested countries for direct incorporation into national law.   

Regulations for passenger ship safety in IMO’s International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea  do not generally apply to passenger ships on domestic voyages, but many countries base their regulations on the IMO standards.
To protect the human lives that rely on this transport, creating a safe and reliable ferry system is crucial to many nations’ sustainable future.  

This video has been possible through collaboration between IMO and the Royal Thai Government.

Watch the video on the IMO YouTube channel: (15) Domestic Ferry Safety – YouTube

6. Human factors

The Oil Companies International Marine Forum (OCIMF) has released a new paper providing a framework to integrate Human Factors into management systems. Human Factors: Management and Self Assessment is intended help companies and leadership teams address the conditions and systems that influence human actions and decisions, and so promote safety and excellence across all operations.

OCIMF Managing Director Rob Drysdale said: “Human Factors is an integral part of the OCIMF strategy. It is a key enabler to further reduce safety, environment, security and health impacts within our industry. That means that it has to be part of any management system. However, a Human Factors element cannot be implemented overnight – it takes time for companies to become familiar with the concepts and understand how to apply them practically.

Publishing this information paper will provide companies with an opportunity to trial the ideas and provide feedback to OCIMF on potential improvements. The intention is to eventually integrate a Human Factors element into our suite of Management Self Assessments and we very much encourage feedback from users.” Human Factors: Management and Self Assessment is available to download here.

7. Plastics research

Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha (“K” LINE) recently announced the signing of a joint research agreement with Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology (TUMSAT) to start joint research on marine plastics. The TUMSAT has been leading research in this field, surveying the amount of marine plastic waste, including microplastics (plastic particles 5 mm or less) floating in the world’s oceans. This joint research will use “K” LINE’s vessels  to collect samples of plastic particles, and is expected to promote the study of marine plastic waste.
The joint research will evaluate how much plastic waste can be collected from seawater under common process without installing any special equipment on intake and filtration of seawater by ships on voyages in order to avoid possible further marine pollution. First, the “K” LINE vessel will take samples from the seawater intake line with a strainer while the ship is running, and then the TUMSAT will collect plastic particles from the samples and analyse the material, size, and other elements.
The project will lead to further research, such as the collection of microplastics in the open sea using ocean-going vessels and the establishment of a monitoring system for the density of microplastics in specific areas.

8. NextGEN

The NextGEN web portal, an online collaborative global ecosystem of maritime transport decarbonisation initiatives, has been launched by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA). NextGEN  – which can be found at NextGEN ( – brings stakeholders together to identify the gaps and opportunities for decarbonisation in the international shipping community. The portal has been developed to serve as a circle of collaboration and a single portal to bring different stakeholders involved in maritime decarbonisation projects. These include ports, governments, companies and research institutes, to share knowledge on low- and zero-carbon fuels.

The NextGEN portal aims to encourage information-sharing, create critical networks and opportunities for collaboration, and facilitate capacity-building. By showcasing the universe of maritime decarbonisation projects on a single platform, the NextGEN portal will serve as a focal point and reference tool for public and private stakeholders.

The NextGEN portal was launched during the IMO-United Nations Environment Programme event held from 27th to 29th September.   The three-day online global platform aims to champion innovation to accelerate the maritime sector’s transition to a zero and low emission future.  The forum is providing a platform for sharing and transferring knowledge associated with the shipping industry’s transition to decarbonisation. The focus for the forum is on developing countries, in order to include their shipping communities in this collective challenge.

IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim said, “The single biggest challenge we face is the battle against global warming and climate change. We need more collaborative action to speed up research into emission-cutting technology in the maritime sector and into zero- and low-carbon marine fuels. Above all, we need to make sure we leave no one behind.”

Quah Ley Hoon, chief executive, MPA, said, “We cannot tackle decarbonisation alone. We need to work together, across borders and the value chain, to build capacity, share best practices and ensure a level playing field for all. By bringing ideas and stakeholders together, NextGEN builds on the key principle of inclusivity.”

NextGEN is an important initiative to support the maritime sector’s push towards the “next generation” of low and zero-carbon fuels and technologies.  The Initial IMO GHG Strategy, adopted in 2018, has set key ambitions to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from international shipping by at least 50% by 2050 compared to 2008. A revised strategy is set to be adopted by 2023. It is recognized that the maritime sector will face challenges reaching the ambitious decarbonisation targets, given the current levels of technological development in low and zero-carbon fuels. Information sharing and knowledge sharing are critical.

The NextGEN portal already encompasses over 140 projects spanning over 500 partners, 13 fuel types. Regions covered include Africa, the Caribbean, Latin America, the Middle East and the Pacific Islands.
NextGEN also spotlights global collaborative GHG projects led by IMO that include technical assistance, technology transfer and capacity-building.

9. Ship valuation

The sale and purchase of ships has recorded an accelerated pace in the volume of transactions for dry bulk vessels compared to 2019 and 2020, according to the latest Signal Group analysis. The increased volume of ships that changed hands reflects the upward trend of freight rates in the capesize segment with smaller ship sizes also attracting a high interest from investors. In the wet segment, there is  a buoyant sentiment but not of the same magnitude as Chinese growth for the first half of this year which boosted capesize freight earnings to a record high over the last eleven years.

In the tanker segment, drivers of demand for freight rates are standing at weak levels with new virus mutations and outbreaks slowing the recovery in global oil demand. The summer was not supportive for the crude oil shipping industry with earnings fluctuating at loss territory levels, whereas, oil product tankers registered more positive movement in earnings.

The dry bulk segment continues moving at optimistic levels of performance as the dry freight index is fluctuating above the barrier of 4,000 points and the third quarter of this year appears to be ending at a record peak. The current levels are above November 2009 with Capesize earnings taking the spotlight, however, there are concerns on the Chinese economy that may shake the waters of today’s promising sentiment.

10.  MCA information

The UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency has published a guide to rights regarding its retention of personal data held by it relating to seafarers, shipowners, agents, and members of the public who have voluntarily registered their vessels with the MCA.

The MCA has also issued MIN 632 Amendment 5 COVID-19 Extension of seafarer employment agreements, which requires owners of U.K.-flagged vessels to notify the MCA of any seafarers remaining on board beyond their contracted period.

11. Transporting dangerous goods

SARC, Netherlands-based developer of maritime software solutions, has released an EDI-IMDG validation tool for shipping dangerous goods by sea. The SARC EDI-IMDG Validator can operate without any predefined ship geometry and is based on a schematic bay plan. This bay plan is derived from an Electronic Data Interchange file (EDI/Baplie). The tool is meant for ship owners, shipping lines, crew and port authorities and can assist in attaining a higher standard of safety at lower effort.

If a vessel sails with dangerous cargo, international rules require the load to be verified for compliance with the latest IMDG code. Each transported substance needs to be checked for conflicts with all other transported substances and the position of its Cargo Transport Unit on the vessel needs to be validated.
The tool can read a load from an EDI/Baplie message and checks the compliance of the load with the latest IMDG amendment. It is also possible to check a manually entered load. Once a load is imported, the operator can refine details of the load that were not available in the imported data, for example if a substance is in limited or excepted quantity. The tool performs segregation checks between all CTUs, verifies stowage comments and labels for each individual CTU and validates the CTU data.

The number of combinations to be checked increases with each additional substance in the load. A manual check of a complete load is therefore often very time-consuming and in practice a check will often be performed on a sample check basis. The EDI-IMDG Validator takes the bulk of this work out of your hands and does a complete check of all combinations and points you directly to the possible segregation conflicts or stowage issues for further review. The tool supports ISO 6436 container codes (both 1985 and 1995) and supports conversion of non-standard codes.

12. Wet Cargoes

Claims relating to wet damage to cargo are all too frequent. Many of these can be avoided entirely with a robust pre-loading condition checking procedure. While humidity and condensation are inevitable challenges through the supply chain, pre-existing CTU damages should be an easy check.

As TT regularly articulates, around 65% of cargo damage incidents are attributable in part to the way that goods are packed within the cargo transport unit (CTU). The CTU Code and the more recent ‘CTU Code – a quick guide’ and complementary container packing checklist published by the Cargo Integrity Group, provide invaluable guidance for actors in the supply chain to mitigate such risks.

TT Club has also produced guidance on changing climate conditions and how they may affect claims. Everyone is well aware of weather conditions in their locality; those with responsibility for operating cargo facilities are likely to be acutely conscious of changes in local climatic conditions. Many will have seen tidal surges, wind microbursts and unprecedented rainfall become more common.

Operators of warehouses, terminals and port areas need to keep ‘fresh’ their assessment of the changing risk profile in relation to climate experience in order to protect personnel, operations, equipment, fixed property and infrastructure, and importantly customers’ goods.

The club also explored an interesting Singapore case that investigates what relationship there is between contracts of sale and contracts of carriage. In the circumstances, it was impossible for holders of the bills of lading to attribute the traditional characteristics where the sale contract was silent.

For more information see

13. IACS news

The International Association of Classification Societies has been focusing its efforts on keeping global supply chains flowing and ensuring that food, fuel and medicines continue to reach societies during the pandemic.

IACS is proud of their efforts in this respect, Nick Brown chief executive of Lloyd’s Register, and new chairman of IACS told a recent press conference.  Flag states and port state control authorities are among those contributing to keeping supply chains running.  “Things can spiral into panic very quickly,” he said, taking as example the recent fuel crisis.

In terms of current conditions, there is an increased acceptance and use of remote surveys.  “We see that as a trend we should hold on to to supplement traditional methods,” he told journalists.  During the pandemic, IACS has continued to attend remote meetings to ensure the industry’s voice is heard, he explained.  IACS teams have been involved in a number of publications to support the industry. 
“We have seen the biggest shockwave with the pandemic, but are now seeing strong economic growth,” he added.  Recovery will be uneven, with supply chains being stretched both with regard to container business and now bulk segments.

The world will need to co-exist with Covid, with necessary national or local lockdowns. On crew changeovers, he believed more governments needed to support the industry. Local lockdowns have been impacting surveyors’ attendance on ships. Remote surveys will continue therefore.
Recent events have concentrated everyone’s minds on supply chain resilience as well as the need to raise awareness of the importance of the industry. Decarbonisation is dominating the headlines with regional initiatives like Fit for 55. Digitalisation has also brought new risks around the cyber issues and the industry needed to understand those risks and ensure that new technology did not result in introducing new problems. “Class is a tried and tested mechanism and collaboration with IACS is only going to become more important,” he told journalists.

There is a greater need for collaboration and a growing independence of different industries.  “We have been working very hard to ensure IACS is a robust organisation and allowed a voice”. IACS’s new governance model allows for higher visibility of long term strategy, including looking for synergies.  A high visibility strategic roadmap will be needed to support industry through the challenge of decarbonisation, he said.

At the same time there needed to be an increased assessment of the human element. Safety during the decarbonisation transition is vital as the process does bring significant safety risks with it, not least explosive risks with new fuels. A unified approach is necessary and as systems are becoming more complex on ships, and new technology is introduced, the necessary skill sets on board need to be reconsidered.

“Seafarers are at the core of shipping’s future,”  he added, and all IACS rules are based on having fit, healthy and competent crew on board. “That is not a given if we can’t deliver crews on board”. He stressed the importance of recognising crew as key workers. “Governments need to make sure that they facilitate crew changeovers.” IACS also welcomed input in order to make sure “roadmaps are agile”.

As far as remote surveys are concerned, these look set to continue and there is no intention to replace physical surveys. Using remote surveys could mean these could be scheduled at less intensive periods of work, however.  “Remote surveys can smooth out peaks and troughs of activity and not create an additional burden.” They could also be streamed and recorded so that others could watch them and avoid duplication of effort. It was down to the classification society to ensure that the clarity of the survey was suitable for the task in hand, he added. Sharing information with other parts of the industry, as between class and flag state will also be important going forward.

“Regulation in general can be seen as a barrier to change and regulation needs to be agile enough to enable change”. Feedback needed to come back from trials of new equipment and processes and investment in land-based infrastructure was also needed.

IACS is planning to provide its input to the upcoming COP26 event. “We have not slowed down as a result of the pandemic,” but incentives were needed to close the commercial gap to support first movers. There will also be a focus on the human element and the evolution of SOLAS and how the role of the seafarer might evolve going forward and that all voices are heard.

See also

Notices & Miscellany

Tatham & Co award
Congratulations are in order for maritime solicitors Tatham & Co which won the Law Society Award for best small firm this week. As partner Stephen Askins tells us, the award “was primarily for the work done around a number of hijackings we were involved in last year during the lockdown where the movement of crew around the world both into and out of the region, as well as getting money across state lines in Nigeria was incredibly challenging. We dedicated the win to the men and women who crew the world’s fleets.

We are a tight team and we do think we punch above our weight. It builds on our success around the Chennai 6 and the work we do for owners who find themselves stuck in difficult places. Whilst surprised, we are grateful to the clients who support us and wish for a safer world where crew are not subjected to attacks by pirates or indeed capricious governments.”

HFW hires
Global, sector-focused law firm HFW has hired two of the UK’s leading top white-collar criminal defence and investigations experts: Barry Vitou and Anne-Marie Ottaway. They both join HFW from Greenberg Traurig, where Vitou was global co-chair of the US firm’s white-collar defence and special investigations practice and headed its team in London. Ottaway previously spent 13 years at the UK’s Serious Fraud Office, and in 2018 was appointed as the Specialist Adviser to the House of Lords’ Select Committee on the UK Bribery Act.

Matt Dawson hosts BIFA
The British International Freight Association has chosen Matt Dawson, one of the UK’s most well-known sports personalities, as the host for its annual Freight Service Awards competition. The awards ceremony luncheon is an annual event on the industry calendar and is scheduled to take place at The Brewery in London on Thursday January 20th next year. Further information relating to entries and luncheon reservations can be obtained by visiting the BIFA website

Mare Forum
Mare Forum is pleased to announce the 2nd Mare Forum Oslo 2021 to be held on Wednesday 13 October at the Grand Hotel in Oslo, Norway. A shipping conference will take place with leading principals actively participating, discussing, debating, and brainstorming about shipping investments, ship finance, and the future of shipping and trade from now to 2030 and beyond.

Register today:

Please notify the Editor of your appointments, promotions, new office openings and other important happenings:

And finally,

With thanks to Paul Dixon


* His thoughts tumbled in his head, making and breaking alliances like underpants in a tumble dryer.

* She caught your eye like one of those pointy hook latches that used to dangle from doors and would fly up whenever you banged the door open again.

* Her eyes were like two brown circles with big black dots in the centre

* Her vocabulary was as bad as, like, whatever.

* He was as tall as a six-foot-three-inch tree.

* The hailstones leaped from the pavement, just like maggots when you fry them in hot grease.

* Long separated by cruel fate, the star-crossed lovers raced across the grassy field toward each other like two freight trains, one having left York at 6:36 p.m. travelling at 55 mph, the other from Peterborough at 4:19p.m. at a speed of 35 mph.

* The politician was gone but unnoticed, like the full stop after the Dr. on a Dr Pepper can.

* John and Mary had never met. They were like two hummingbirds who had also never met.

* The thunder was ominous sounding, much like the sound of a thin sheet of metal being shaken backstage during the storm scene in a play.

* The red brick wall was the colour of a brick-red crayon.

* Even in his last years, Granddad had a mind like a steel trap, only one that had been left out so long it had rusted shut.

* The door had been forced, as forced as the dialogue during the interview portion of Family Fortunes.

* The plan was simple, like my brother Phil. But unlike Phil, this plan just might work.

* The young fighter had a hungry look, the kind you get from not eating for while.

* He was as lame as a duck. Not the metaphorical lame duck either, but a real duck that was actually lame. Maybe from stepping on a land mine or something.

* She had a deep, throaty, genuine laugh, like that sound a dog makes just before it throws up.

* It came down the stairs looking very much like something no one had ever seen before.

* The ballerina rose gracefully en pointe and extended one slender leg behind her, like a dog at a lamppost.

* The revelation that his marriage of 30 years had disintegrated because of his wife’s infidelity came as a rude shock, like a surcharge at a formerly surcharge-free cashpoint.

* The dandelion swayed in the gentle breeze like an oscillating electric fan set on medium.

* It was a working class tradition, like fathers chasing kids around with their power tools.

* He was deeply in love. When she spoke, he thought he heard bells, as if she were a dustcart reversing.

* She grew on him like she was a colony of E. coli and he was room-temperature British beef.

* She walked into my office like a centipede with 98 missing legs.

* Her voice had that tense, grating quality, like a first-generation thermal paper fax machine that needed a band tightened.

* It hurt the way your tongue hurts after you accidentally staple it to the wall.

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Maritime Advocate Online is a fortnightly digest of news and views on the maritime industries, with particular reference to legal issues and dispute resolution. It is published to over 20,000 individual subscribers each week and republished within firms and organisations all over the maritime world. It is the largest publication of its kind. We estimate it goes to around 60,000 readers in over 120 countries.